News: Medical students help deliver medical gowns to health care workers
By Nick Maizlin, Kaveh Farrokhi, Mike Ding (Medicine Class of 2023)
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, there was an almost immediate shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) among health care staff. As first-year medical students, we were unable to help health care workers in a clinical capacity; however, we realized that we could assist them by helping address the PPE shortage.
We contacted Katie Timson, the Canada Sews London/Middlesex Regional Leader, and Janet Dang, the Primary Care Transformation Lead at the London-Middlesex Primary Care Alliance and began working with them to help address the PPE shortage. We took on the role of helping Canada Sews deliver handmade sewn PPE gowns to primary health care facilities in the London community.
We created an online order form for receiving gown requests and organized a system for receiving gowns from the sewers at Canada Sews, quarantining them, and delivering them to the requesting locations. We received orders from long-term care homes, community clinics, dental locations and pharmacies. We delivered our first order of gowns on May 7, 2020. By the middle of August, we had delivered nearly 800 gowns to the community.
We also brought on additional members of our class to help us with community outreach. One of the members, Ruth Neumann, was able to make custom thank you notes for us to deliver with the gowns as a way to increase morale among gown recipients.
To help improve the gowns for future deliveries, we developed a feedback form that we send to gown recipients. The responses were overwhelmingly positive for the usefulness of the gowns.
If anyone is interested in making a donation, providing a source of funding, or volunteering to sew the gowns, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. While handmade gowns are not a replacement for proper medical-grade PPE, we hope that our deliveries to primary care facilities can provide backup protection in the instance of a PPE shortage.